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NEW YORK - 24 Sep 2015

Rights groups urge AU to create hybrid court

Human rights activists are calling for the formation of a hybrid court to try war crimes committed in South Sudan. Their appeal comes ahead of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in New York on Saturday, on the sideline of the UN General Assembly.

In a letter to the African Union (AU) chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, 38 South Sudanese and international organizations said that the meeting should be used to support the establishment of an AU commission-created hybrid court for South Sudan.

“The court would try grave crimes committed in the country’s recent conflict, as provided for in the August peace agreement between the parties to the conflict,” the organizations explained.

The recently signed peace agreement in South Sudan provides for a Hybrid Court to be established in part by the African Union Commission as well as a Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Commission and a Compensation and Reparations Authority.

According to the letter, “An independent hybrid court could make an essential contribution for South Sudanese, who are looking for justice as part of sustainable peace following a war that has destroyed civilian towns and villages, killed thousands of civilians, displaced over 2 million people, and plunged much of the country into humanitarian crisis.”

“The AU Commission should make clear its support for the hybrid court from the outset.” 

The letter's signatories include Amnesty International (UK), Assistance Mission for Africa, Citizens for Peace and Justice (South Sudan), Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (South Sudan), Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (Switzerland), Dialogue and Research Initiative (South Sudan), East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (Uganda), End Impunity Organization (South Sudan), The Enough Project (USA), Humanity United (USA), Human Rights Watch (USA), South Sudan Law Society (South Sudan), South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (South Sudan), South Sudan Network for Democracy and Elections (South Sudan), among others.

Photo: Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (AU)